by John Burgan ‧ RELEASE DATE: Sept. 11, 1942
An able handling of a subject that would seem impossible for sympathetic human interest appeal. For here, in a challenging first novel, the making of a small-time American Fascist is depicted in such a way that even the most hardened critic cannot help but feel at odds with the conditions that created the situation rather than with Lang Taylor himself. Lang is amazingly rounded in the drawing. You like his independence, his unwillingness to be told where to get off, his refusal to sacrifice his integrity to the need to keep a job. You like his wholesome,natural young wife, unshamed of her passionate love for Lang, staunch in her determination to try to keep him true to the best of himself. Next you see Lang caught in the dilemma of to join or not to join the union which is secretly being organized; you see the pull of ambition to get ahead -- and the sacrifice to both sides, as Lang is caught. Disillusioned, he turns to politics, and innocent of the meanings of what goes on, he is caught in a web of political shinanigans. Marcie hates it, refuses to play up to the wiveson the other patty politicians, but Lang is fascinated, and turns the lesson he is learning to the spinning of a web of his own making. Suddenly -- too late -- the facts of the objectives of the organization he has helped to weld, are brought home to him, anti mitism, anti-foreign born, anti-British, anti-war, points at which even his political houses balk. The old uncle, Purdy, is a grand figure -- grand in his earnest knowing the right, he dares to show Lang up, to leave the security of his home, to back Marce when she can take no more. The story ends with Lang committed to the wrong road -- returning to an empty house. Burgan speaks from inside knowledge of the machinstions of business, labor and politics; without for a second condoning any of it, he manages to show both sides objectively, and to make the reader share the confusion, understand the impulses, and pity Lang, while condemning him unreservedly. Well-balanced in the telling, an adroit job.
Pub Date: Sept. 11, 1942
Page Count: -
Review Posted Online: N/A
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1942
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